I don’t know about you, but I love me some mushrooms! With that earthy taste and distinct texture, mushrooms can transform a boring dish into something hearty and delicious.
However, turns out mushrooms can also boost your daily macro and micronutrients counts.
Certain species of mushrooms like common button mushrooms, shiitake, and yellow chanterelles contain up to 20 g of protein and up to 50 g of carbohydrates per serving (per 100 g of dried mushroom).
Mushrooms are also the only plant source of food that contains Vitamin B12 and are also rich in niacin and folate. Button mushrooms, specifically, are also dense in potassium, iron, zinc, copper, sodium, selenium, and manganese.
Medicinal uses of mushrooms have existed for thousands of years, used in Asia, Europe, and North America to treat a variety of health conditions. Lion’s Mane has been purported to help treat depression and boost mental focus. Reishi supposedly enhances immune system function. Based on a review of a number of studies, the results at first glance look promising for the use of medicinal mushrooms. However, the veracity of these findings seems less certain. Many of the studies test the efficacy of mushrooms in a medical form through in vitro samples. Little evidence of large sample sizes in these studies exist and therefore colors the conclusion of many of these medical claims.
Regardless of the sparse science that exists around medical mushrooms, one cannot discount the data surrounding the health and nutritional benefits of mushrooms.
How can you start adding more nutritional density into your diet using mushrooms?
Fresh mushrooms are close to 80% of water and so one of the best ways to reap the benefits of this food is to consume mushrooms in a dry form.
In this dried form, you can add them to smoothies, soups, sauces, and salads. Doing a quick google search reveals a host of sites that provide some great recipes!
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Łysakowska, P. , Sobota, A., and Wirkijowska, A. “Medicinal Mushrooms: Their Bioactive Components, Nutritional Value and Application in Functional Food Production—A Review”Molecules 2023, 28, 5393.
Money, Nicholas P. “Are Mushrooms Medicinal?” Fungal Biology. Volume 120, Issue 4, April 2016, pp 449-453
Venturella, G., Ferraro, V, Cirlincione, F, and Letizia Gargano, M. “Medicinal Mushrooms: Bioactive Compounds, Use, and Clinical Trials” International Journal of Molecular Sciences 2021, 22(2), 634